April is Alcohol Awareness Month! Many Youth Action Teams and other youth groups may be wondering how to complete a project while school is out of session and groups are not meeting. Look no further than conducting a virtual Alcohol Free Gets Me campaign!
Here’s what you need to know in order to implement the campaign:
Central Message and Goal
This is a youth-focused underage drinking prevention campaign that uses an evidence-based strategy called PhotoVoice. Research has shown that youth who have opportunities to express their thoughts and opinions through photography with captions in their own words can positively influence the attitudes and behaviors of peers and other community members.
This campaign, Alcohol Free Gets Me, asks youth and adults to think of goals, hopes or dreams they have for their future. Being alcohol free will increase the likelihood that these hopes and dreams can be reached. The premise of the campaign is to ask participants to take a photograph of something that represents their goals, hopes or dreams and write a caption along the lines of “Alcohol free gets me… (closer to a college scholarship, a chance to be a veterinarian, etc.)” The caption can read a little differently such as, “Being alcohol free will help me…” or “I want to…and being alcohol free will help me get there.”
Planning and Implementation Steps
- Decide the parameters around your campaign
- Establish a time frame for submissions (ideally by the end of April)
- Decide if you want participants to post about it on social media ONLY, or if you also want to accept submissions via email or text
- When you give instructions for campaign participation via social media, ask participants to use the hashtag #AlcoholFreeGetsMe and to tag your Youth Action Team’s or organization’s social media account
- Set up an email account or phone number that can accept texts and photos to receive entries, if applicable
- Determine if you will offer incentives for participation and, if so, what they are
- Get the message about the campaign out electronically. Here are some ideas for doing that:
- Ask your organization’s or school’s administrators about posting on their website, blog, etc.
- Send it out via email to your Youth Action Team’s supporters
- Post on your Youth Action Team’s or organization’s social media accounts (best for Instagram, Twitter and Facebook)
- Send the information out to local partners who may be able to help you spread the word
- Have your Youth Action Team members spread the word on their personal social media accounts
- Make sure all members of your Youth Action Team submit entries, so you have some already at the beginning of the campaign. Recruit friends or family members to participate early on as well
- Screen all entries to make sure they are eligible and appropriate
- Photos should be symbolic
- Captions should be related to the campaign theme “Alcohol free gets me…”
- All entries should not contain inappropriate material
- Share eligible entries you receive on your Youth Action Team’s or organization’s social media account as you receive them (this can be as simple as retweeting on Twitter, regramming on Instagram or sharing posts you see on Facebook)
Keep record of the numbers of posts you see and/or entries you receive. Also, keep all photos and statements to use for other projects if needed, such as to include on an information table at a community event!
If you are a 2019-2020 Youth Action Team who decides to participate in this activity, please don’t forget to include it in your Monthly Report. We can’t wait to see what you do!
Keep in Mind
Once your campaign message has been sent out, it will take 1-2 weeks to implement. The costs to conduct this virtual campaign are very minimal if any!
GREAT incentives will often motivate youth to participate! Poll the members of your Youth Action Team to see what incentive they would be interested in receiving. You can also ask local businesses to donate incentives. Because this is a virtual campaign, an easy way of providing an incentive would be to offer a gift card to somewhere like Amazon that allows you to send it electronically to the winner(s).
Start planning your campaign now; you have plenty of time to do this well!
For more information about the campaign or how to conduct it virtually, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.